Monday Pointers: Minotaurs and Argonauts Edition

Since moving to Atlanta for the new job I’ve been staying with friends while waiting to move into my apartment. They have an eight year old daughter and a ten year old son. Last night the daughter was interested in the Mazes & Minotaurs book I was reading and I explained it. A quick check of Netflix showed the classic Ray Harryhausen Jason and the Argonauts could be seen on demand. I told her the game was like the movie and she and her brother not only agreed to watch it but were fascinated by it. Their mother couldn’t believe how into it they, especially the daughter, were. There might be some classically influenced gaming tonight.

So, for the long awaited return of Monday Pointers I’ve decided to do something different. Instead of an assortment of links that had interested me throughout the week I thought I’d choose a theme.

D4:Mazes and Minotaurs
What if Arneson and Gygax had been playing with hoplites instead of knights? What if they’d enjoyed The Dancer from Atlantis more than Three Hearts and Three Lions? What if they’d read more Mary Renault than Lovecraft and thrilled to Tros of Samothrace more than Conan the Cimmerian? This might have been the game we’d be playing.

D6:Jason and the Argonauts
Stop motion animation including a giant bronze statue, Hercules played by someone other than Kevin Sorbo (not that I dislike his Hercules), and Pussy Galore doing a turn as Hera Queen of the gods combine in this fun adventure movie. How good is it? A modern 8 and 10 year old whose attention span often can’t last a half hour show on Disney sat enthralled for 103 minutes and wanted to know if there was a sequel or TV series.

D8:The King Must Die: and The Bull from the Sea
Of course, if we have minotaurs we need the Labyrinth and that means Theseus as well. The closest thing to a C. S. Lewis for the ancients is Ms. Renault (to Robert Grave’s Tolkien) and these two novels should inspire any classical game.

D10:The Argonautica (English Translation at Project Gutenberg)
Our major source on Jason and the Argonauts is an epic poem, The Argonautica. The only Hellenistic epic to survive it would serve as a source for another Roman poem on the same topic. At least one English translation (of many) can be found as a free e-book.

D12:Hercules, My Shipmate
If Graves is Tolkien to Renault’s Lewis then we have to include his version of the story of the Argo and her crew of heroes as well in any M&M series of links.